Technology addiction changing social norms

Samantha Lim, Langara student tries to keep her phone out of arms reach when she's studying to lessen the distractions.
Samantha Lim, Langara student tries to keep her phone out of arms reach when she’s studying to lessen the distractions. – Photo by Madelyn Forsyth

Many Langara students tend to feel displaced without their smartphone and Dan Nykon, the assistant department chair of psychology, thinks they may be missing out on real-life interactions.

Technology interferes with real-life interaction

When people spend so much time connecting through social media, they miss out on “the non-verbal feedback,” said Nykon.

“It’s really easy, that’s part of the problem is that very often people will knock off an email or a message without thinking very much,” he said. “There tends to be less reflection involved.”

He also points out how technology has changed the way we interact with each other even when we’re face-to-face. “All too often you see whole families sitting around the table and each having their devices out.”

Langara student Samantha Lim feels “weird” when she doesn’t have her smartphone on her.

“I try and avoid [my phone] when I’m trying to do my homework,” Lim said. “Otherwise, I’m checking things online or Googling something. It’s always with me.”

Restaurants locking up phones for your own good

The Score on Davie, a restaurant in Vancouver, recently installed lock boxes for people to voluntarily give up their phones for the duration of the meal. The bar, famous for the Luongo Caesar, says on their Facebook page that they added the lock boxes to put the “social back in social media.” The first person in the group to ask for their phone can get it without a fuss, but must buy a round of drinks for their table first.

“I think it will attract a certain kind of person,” Nykon said before adding that the people who don’t agree with the process will likely just not dine there.

The reality of face-to-face interactions may be changing with how driven people are by social media, he suggested.

“The jury is still out,” Nykon said, “you’ll see what happens in 10 years or so as these people get into adult-hood and whether that changes.”


Reported by Madelyn Forsyth

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